Aussies in charge at Sophia Gardens

2015-07-08 14:18
Joe Root (AFP)

Cardiff - Joe Root defied Australia after England lost three early wickets on the first day of the first Ashes Test at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens on Wednesday.

At lunch, England were 88 for three after winning the toss.

Gary Ballance was 28 not out and Root, dropped on nought, 33 not out.

The Yorkshire duo had so far added 45 runs in 51 balls after England had slumped to 43 for three.

Josh Hazlewood struck with just his sixth ball against England when he had fellow Ashes debutant Adam Lyth, aiming leg side, well caught low down by a diving David Warner at gully for six.

After just two maiden overs, Starc was replaced by fellow left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson at the Cathedral Road End.

Johnson, whose 37 wickets at under 14 apiece were a key factor in Australia's 5-0 Ashes rout of England on home soil in 2013/14, soon got the odd ball to bounce alarmingly.

Australia captain Michael Clarke, bidding to lead his side to a first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years, lived up to his reputation for ringing the changes in the field by bringing on off-spinner Nathan Lyon as early as the 10th over.

Many pundits had told England to 'get after' Lyon.

But, try as he might, Cook couldn't get Lyon away and the 14th consecutive 'dot ball' he received from the spinner proved his undoing, an edged cut caught by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

Cook was out for 20 and England were 42 for two.

That soon became 43 for three when experienced batsman Ian Bell's run of low scores continued when he was lbw for one to a fast, full-length and swinging delivery from Starc.

Bell's exit meant he'd scored just 56 runs in his last nine innings.

Root almost went lbw to Starc first ball, spared by a thin inside edge, and next ball he was dropped by a diving Haddin, the keeper unable to hold a right-handed chance.

Root, however, was undaunted and drove Starc down the ground for a classic four.

Root has the priceless ability to up the tempo if he does stay in and when Johnson and Hazlewood both dropped short, he responded with a pair of cut boundaries.

Left-hander Ballance then struck his best short of the session when he cut a fractionally wide ball from Johnson to the point rope.

Read more on:    australia  |  ashes  |  joe root  |  cricket

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